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Topic:

Communication Challenges During 9/11 (Essay Sample)

Instructions:
the task here was to develop an essay to highlight the communication problems that ensued during the september 11th terrorist attacks in new york city and make recommendations on how similar problems should be dealt with in the future. the sample paper describes the facts of the terrorist attacks in chronological, beginning with the attacks and then the response from different quarters including law enforcement and the fire department. an analysis of the response from the said quarters follows, with a focus on the coordination efforts that were vital, given the scale of the attack. the analysis exposes flaws in the response, which includes poor coordination between the military, police, fire department, and the airport authorities. finally, the paper analyzes the remedial measures taken to prepare the authorities for response to a similar occurrence in the future. these are followed up wit a list of recommendations that would helpful based on the analysis but were not implemented. source..
Content:
Communication Challenges During 9/11 Name: Institutional Affiliation: On the morning of September 11, 2001 19 terrorists set out on a mission that would shape the history of the United States and the world. In coordinated attacks, the all-Qaeda affiliated suicide attackers took over 3,000 lives along with their own, among whom were over 400 police officers and firefighters. The attacks were conducted in three different places but they all entailed the hijacking of American planes and directing them into important buildings. The first incidence was where two planes were flown into the north and south towers of the Twin Towers in New York. The buildings would collapse shortly after leading to the deaths of more than three thousand people. The second phase was when another plane was flown into the pentagon building, killing 125 military members and civilians, together with all the 64 people in the plane CITATION His16 \l 1033 (History, 2016). The final attack was prevented by the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 resulting in its crashing in Pennsylvania before it could get to either the White House or the Capitol where it was believed to have been heading. The attack in New York was the most significant one in all respects. It resulted in the highest number of deaths by far, the highest level of carnage, as well as the biggest communication complications. Consequently, it is the focus of this essay. The first event was when an American Airlines Boeing 767, carrying 20,000 gallons of jet fuel was flown into the 80th floor of the World Trade Center North tower. It started a fire and killed the first few hundred people instantly. Many more were trapped in the building yet 18 minutes later, another Boeing 767 was flown into the South Tower. This resulted in an explosion a fire that all weakened the building's support structure. At 0959 Hrs, the South Tower collapsed under the pressure of the inferno on its steel structure. 29 minutes later, the North tower followed suit CITATION His161 \l 1033 (History, 9/11:Timeline of Events, 2016). The event was the biggest such attack to befall the United States and as such, it exposed many communication flaws in the emergency response protocols of Law enforcement CITATION HSN11 \l 1033 (HSNW, 2011). There were problems in their internal communication and especially in attempts to coordinate with other departments including fire fighters and other law enforcement divisions. One of the most tragic communication failures was that of the system within the twin towers that led into the evacuation announcements not reaching the people. Additionally, the emergency line operators were not fully aware of what was happening in the Twin Towers due to the communication breakdown. They could therefore not coordinate responses with law enforcement effectively. Secondly, there were evident problems in the communication between the police and other first responders, most notably the fire fighters. For instance, one of the pilots assessing the north tower following the collapse of the south tower warning that it was also bound to collapse. Although this warning was transmitted 21 minutes before the actual collapse, only some policemen heard it and escaped CITATION Joe04 \l 1033 (Roberts, 2004). This was due to the failure of the firefighters' radio system. There also were communication failures at the federal level. The National Military Command Center initiated a conference call following the two crashes into the Twin Towers but before the attack on the pentagon. However, the Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Control command center was not incorporated in the call owing to equipment challenges and unavailability of secure phone lines. This was a vital mistake since they had the most information on the attacks and therefore any proactive actions were crippled for a while. There was also a protocol challenge since the person who joined the conference from the FAA lacked the knowledge or authority to act in a hijack scenario CITATION Joe04 \l 1033 (Roberts, 2004). He also lacked the information available to top ranking officials as at that time and access to any decision makers who could help. The consequences of the communication challenges were dire. Most prominently, many more lives than needed to be lost were lost at that time. The fact that most civilians did not have the knowledge of what was happening saw them trapped in the building and eventually lose their lives. Over a third of the 343 firefighter deaths occurred in the North Tower, well after the warning was issued, possibly avoidable deaths CITATION His16 \l 1033 (History, 2016). There was also panic among the people and inappropriate responses such as heading to roof although they did not have the key to access it. The poor coordination at the federal level meant that the attack in Pentagon could not be averted or the ...
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